Friday, November 7, 2008
After three years, almost two million visitors and over a years worth of unique movies posted (that’s 33 025 270 seconds), Lionhead Studios feels it’s time for the final curtain to come down on The Movies Online.
The number of new movies posted and traffic visiting the site has dropped to a level that means it is no longer viable to keep the site operating. Therefore the site will shut down on 5th December 2008. With specialist sites such as The Movies Underground and Machinima.com, Lionhead believes that the diehard movie maker will still be able to find many other outlets to display their work – as well as being able to upload to sites such as MSN video.
In announcing the closure of the site Mark Webley Lionhead’s Development Director, who headed up The Movies team said “The Movies Online has shown how much creativity and originality there is amongst gamesplayers. The Movies helped create movies like The French Democracy which attracted world-wide media attention. But three years on, would-be film makers now have many more outlets for their creativity which also attract a wider audience. So we have taken the difficult decision to close The Movies Online. We’d like to thank everyone who has posted a movie or visited the site over the past three years”.
Note that Lionhead has kept The Movies forums open. And it has links to download a number of movies in its ‘Hall of Fame’ library. If you’re willing to install Microsoft’s Silverlight, you can view about a quarter of the posters that were uploaded by users during The Movies heyday (I wasn’t really, but when I tried, the install malfunctioned - ugh).
Possibly the most famous machinima created with The Movies was French Democracy in 2005.
“…French machinima-maker Koulamata [Alex Chan] tells the story of three young men in Paris who end up taking part in the recent riots. All three suffer different kinds of indignities at the hands of French society, triggering their decisions to fight back; the movie is very clearly on the side of the rioters. Whether or not one accepts the political perspective of Koulamata, he has done something truly remarkable: he has taken computer game characters and told a story with clear social relevance…” (source: Worldchanging.com)
Allen Varney of The Escapist wrote a very interesting article about French Democracy, just its content, but also about the questions it raises about art and copyright.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
So, here I am at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York City to launch digipendence.com and liveblog the Academy of Machinima Arts & Science’s Machinima Festival 2008. Currently listening to Paul Marino give a “Machinima 101” overview about the history and current state of Machinima. I missed the “Welcome” by the Academy’s Friedrich Kirschner and Liz Slagus, Eyebeam’s Head of Education and Public Programming, but I’ll try catch up with them later when I get to the event podcasting and videoblogging.